7 Signs of Digestive Problems in Dogs
We tend to think of our dogs as four-legged garbage disposals, but even a pup with a stomach of steel can experience an upset stomach from time to time. Digestive issues can be exacerbated by poor diets, exposure to toxins, and a host of other dangers.
Being vigilant about your dog’s diet and monitoring their activity both inside and outdoors can help prevent serious problems from arising.
Further, if you’re aware of the top 7 signs of digestive problems in dogs shared in this article, you’ll be better equipped to address an issue before it becomes serious.
Top 7 Signs Your Dog is Experiencing Digestive Issues
Even though dogs can’t talk, they’ll often leave us clues that something isn’t quite right with their digestive system. Be on the lookout for these 7 common symptoms.
Pet parents will inevitably see their dog vomit at least a handful of times. Getting into something they shouldn’t have or a slightly upset stomach can lead to occasional vomiting. However, repeated vomiting, vomiting blood, or large amounts of vomit may be cause for concern and warrant a trip to the vet.
Like vomiting, occasional, short bouts of diarrhea are usually nothing to worry about. Keep an eye out for blood in the stool or weight loss. It’s a good idea to know what is “normal” for your dog’s poop. In general, a healthy stool will have the following four characteristics:
- A dark brown color
- A lack of coating, i.e., no mucus
- Little to no undigested food is visible
- A firm consistency that remains intact but has a slight softness
A day or two of diarrhea may be okay, and most instances resolve themselves naturally within four days.
3. Excessive Gas
It’s not uncommon for dogs to have gas now and then, but excessive gas accompanied by sounds of gurgling in your dog’s stomach are surefire signs of an upset tummy. If your dog regularly clears the room with noxious gas, it could be a sign that he’s not digesting his food properly.
Helping your dog slow down his eating using a muffin pan or slow feeder can help. A trip to the vet to rule out parasites may also be in order.
While diarrhea is inconvenient and worrisome, constipation can be just as troubling. Constipation could be due to a lack of exercise or caused by something more serious like an obstruction.
Dehydration can also lead to constipation, so be sure your pup is getting plenty of water, especially during summer.
5. Weight Loss
Weight loss is common in dogs after stints of diarrhea and vomiting, though it may also be a sign of a more serious illness. If the weight loss is accompanied by a distended belly and decreased energy, your pup may have worms. Look for other abnormalities or changes in lifestyle.
For example, if you’ve increased your dog’s activity levels, you may need a corresponding boost in calories that your dog eats.
6. Lack of Interest in Food
If your pup typically inhales his dinner and is suddenly showing a distinct lack of interest in his food, he may be dealing with a digestive issue. You may also try ruling out other causes of a sudden disinterest, like boredom with the same food or stale food if your dog is eating kibble.
Changes in energy levels can also indicate that something is going on with your dog’s digestive system. In warmer months, be sure your pup has enough water and avoid activity during peak hours of heat. If dehydration or heat are not the culprits, it’s likely that something is happening with your pup’s stomach.
When to Be Concerned About Digestive Problems
We all have the occasional upset stomach, and most of the time, it’s not a cause for concern. However, because our dogs can’t speak to us, we have to be extra vigilant about monitoring their behavioral patterns and overall health.
When your pup is dealing with tummy troubles, the issues will usually resolve themselves without intervention other than making your dog comfortable until things settle down. Monitoring your dog closely and being familiar with their habits is vital in knowing when you should be concerned enough to take your pup to the vet.
We’ve included tips below to help keep your dog’s digestive system in tip-top shape. Being proactive can reduce the frequency of your pup experiencing the discomfort associated with diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Tips to Address Digestive Issues
To keep your pup’s digestive tract healthy, be sure to include plenty of water in their diet and consider adding a digestive supplement like Bully Puppy Supplements. A supplement can give your dog’s immune system a boost, which also keeps the digestive tract healthy.
Many pet parents are unsure what to do when they see their dog experiencing digestive discomfort. While the first instinct may be to head to the vet, especially if you see alarming symptoms, more benign instances of stomach upset may be resolved by implementing a 24-hour fast to allow any toxins or bacteria to pass through.
After the 24-hour fast, it’s recommended that the first meal be unseasoned chicken breast and rice. Monitor your dog to see how well he tolerates it, and continue this diet for a few days before re-incorporating the regular routine. During the fast, be sure to provide your pup with plenty of water.
Common Digestive Disorders in Dogs
Like people, dogs can experience serious digestive problems. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the following list of infectious and noninfectious digestive disorders can potentially plague your fur baby during their lifetime.
- Canine Parvovirus
- Inflammation or infection of the gastrointestinal tract
- Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The Bottom Line About Digestive Problems in Dogs
At XDOG, we believe in providing pet parents with the best quality products to keep their furry friends healthy, including probiotic supplements that boost immunity and overall health. To learn more about keeping your pet in peak condition, we’ve included this helpful resource about the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics.